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After Effects...capricious and illogical

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steve siegelAfter Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 15, 2013 at 2:03:27 pm

I write out of desperation. After Effects has conquered me. The Empire has struck back. I'm not a newbie to Adobe, using Premiere Pro and Encore all the time, but AE...wow. If I could only find a way to reverse an accidental action without making things worse. Using Edit-Undo often does nothing. Sometimes it undoes a totally different action than the last one performed. Layers lock up for no reason.
Watching tutorials is not helpful. The guys says "To do this, I do that". The icons and screen are so small, you can't even tell what "this " and "that" are. The latest example of my trouble is where I have created a rectangular mask on a layer, and can't figure out how to get out of "mask mode" to go on to the next task. I clicked on "mask" (by accident) in the timeline, and the layer filled the screen and went into Luma Key and froze there. Totally illogical. AE is like trying to make a French souffle from a Chinese cookbook, when you don't read Chinese. Is there a basic, simple book for this program...with, heaven forbid, an actual index!


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mathew fullerRe: After Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 15, 2013 at 3:25:23 pm

I would advise 2 things.

1.Use a site like lynda.com where the tutorials are in a logical order. Explaining the interface and moving on through the basics from there. Its a better way to go about learing the program than random tutorials from all over the web.

2. Accept that everything frustrating you is user error.

After that, everything else is crean cheese.

My Work:
http://www.morecompletefx.com


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: After Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 15, 2013 at 4:54:36 pm

Steve -

Matthew is correct. After Effects is not logical until you understand the basic concepts behind compositing, and then begin applying them in an orderly and logical manner, you are like the monkey throwing bananas at a typewriter - you might get a great book, totally by luck, and you more likely will get gibberish, which seems to be what you're experiencing (no insult meant here).

Lynda.com is a great place to learn AE, as is the bible by Chris and Trish Meyer:

http://www.crishdesign.com/books/Creating-Motion-Graphics/index.html

I would suggest, however, that it might make more sense to start on a beginners level (again, no insult intended):

http://www.crishdesign.com/books/After-Effects-Apprentice/

A knowledge of Premiere and Encore does very little toward preparing you for After Effects, other than a familiarity with the overall Adobe GUI standards. I've been working in After Effects for almost fifteen years, and there isn't a day that I don't smack my forehead and say, "I wish I'd known that five years ago, it would have saved me hours!". It's a deep, feature rich program, which only makes sense after you learn it. Start at the bottom, and in a couple of weeks to a month, the light will go on, and you'll start getting fluid with AE.

You can also find a lot of good, well-organized tutorials at tv.adobe.com. If you go here:

http://tv.adobe.com/show/learn-after-effects-cs6/

...you can start by scrolling down to Getting Started, and get the basics under your belt, before you jump into the deep end. Good luck with it!

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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steve siegelRe: After Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:16:53 pm

Matthew,

Thanks for the input. Unfortunately not all the frustration is due to user error. A lot is, but in a program that is so intricate there just is, and has to be, important material that is never explained. Take making a cropping mask with the pen tool. Several websites actually say cropping is not possible, or is difficult in AE. Well, with the pen tool it is very easy...but you have to do it just right in away that is not intuitive. Try to find a website that explains it! I finally found that Classroom In A Book solved most of my issues, clearly and easily.


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John CuevasRe: After Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 15, 2013 at 4:56:17 pm

Getting started with After Effects (CS4, CS5, CS5.5, CS6, & CC)

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Todd KoprivaRe: After Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 15, 2013 at 6:06:13 pm

I agree with what the others have recommended---especially John, whose link goes to a collection of ordered resources that includes the items that Joe mentioned.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
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Robert FigueiraRe: After Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 15, 2013 at 10:26:41 pm

Not saying much new, but I also highly recommend Trish and Chris Meyer's Creating Motion Graphics. I consider myself an advanced user, and I'm still frequently referencing their book for features I use less often.


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: After Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:13:17 pm

I agree, Robert - in fact I put a link to the authors' website four posts back. It's an invaluable book, especially, as you said, for features you might not commonly use. They also have an apprentice level book, which I don't own, but might be good in this case.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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steve siegelRe: After Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:04:30 pm

Brilliant!


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Chris EvansRe: After Effects...capricious and illogical
by on Dec 16, 2013 at 6:04:26 pm

I've learned nearly everything I know about After Effects from Andrew Kramer over at Video Copilot (he used to be on the Cow.

Here are the basics (made on an older version, but almost everything carries over)
http://www.videocopilot.net/basic/

And a huge selection of tutorials.
http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/

Watch them all even if you don't think you'll need to know it because there are many other things in each tutorial that will help you with everything.


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